Former Merrillville and Northern Illinois basketball star T.J. Lux
T.J. Lux, former basketball star at Merrillville and Northern Illinois, stands in his training room at "dlux Evolutionary Personal Training" in Crown Point. He will be inducted into the Northern Illinois University Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday.

Former Northern Illinois men's basketball coach Brian Hammel can recall all the contributions T.J. Lux made to the program.

The one which stands out, however, was what took place after a home game at the Chick Evans Fieldhouse in DeKalb.

"We're leaving and I said, 'Where's T.J. going?' Well, he was going to some little kid's birthday party," Hammel said. "T.J. was signing autographs and I guess the kid asked him.

"That kind of shows you the kind of person T.J. Lux is."

Lux recalled the event and said he even had a good time at the party.

"I think his grandmother asked me and I figured 'Why not?'," Lux said. "It doesn't take that much to be nice to people."

Friday, Lux will be inducted into the Northern Illinois University Athletics Hall of Fame. He was selected in the first year he was eligible.

"A great honor," Lux said. "To be a part of a great program and all the people associated with it. The coaching staff, head coach Brian Hammel, my teammates and the fans who came out.

"Even (the sports information director) Mike Korcek and (assistant SID) Steve Nemeth for all the work they put in publicizing me."

When T.J. Lux, a Merrillville graduate, was at NIU, he had tried every way to put on weight and increase his strength.

It was a friend on the Huskies baseball team (Brian Lygan) who got him involved with a concept known as High-Intensity Strength Training after his sophomore season.

"I was getting better results working out 20 minutes once or twice a week than my teammates were lifting four times a week," Lux said.

"I knew I had to get stronger with us going from the Mid-Continent Conference to the MAC (Mid-American Conference) because it was a more physical league."

Lux was so influenced by that experience, he set up his own cutting edge training center in Crown Point, "dlux. Evolutionary Personal Training," based on similar concepts. Recently, he also joined forces with The Exercise Coach, a fitness franchise, to bring this approach to more people.

"At our training centers we use a robot-driven technology, with touch-screen monitors," Lux said. "We capitalize on the force your body can produce. No weights, but we significantly stimulate your muscle without the risk of injury."

Lux, also the assistant boys basketball coach at Merrillville, added, "I put our boys through workouts once a week for a month and they all put on over 3 pounds of muscle. When Brandon Clark (the Pirates' 5-foot-11 point guard) is dunking, you know something is going on."

Lux had a lot of success at both Merrillville and at Northern Illinois. Both on the court and in the classroom.

Lux made All-Mid-Continent Conference and All-Mid-American Conference as the Huskies switched leagues during his career. He also was a three-time Academic All-America and was CoSIDA's Academic All-America of the Year in 2000.

"That's Stanford, Duke, Northwestern when you talk about that kind of accolades," Korcek said. "T.J. Lux was the epitome of the student-athlete and that might be an understatement.

"That speaks a lot of T.J. and his family and the kind of person he is. I am not surprised he is having success as a businessman."

Hammel said he remembers watching Lux during the Indiana High School tournament and Lux did not have a great game.

"He came up to me and said 'I will never play that bad again,'" Hammel said. "That shows the character of the kind of person he is. At Northern, he really blossomed. I remember debating whether or not to start a freshman. Well, he earned it and he never let us down."

Merrillville coach Jim East said he saw the strides Lux made in his prep career. Lux led the Pirates to a second-place finish in the 1995 state tourney. He also was an Indiana All-Star.

"He was on the JV and he just came into his own when he got to the varsity," East said. "I knew he would be a late bloomer and have a lot of success in college.

"He really earned everything he's got. He worked at Northern to make himself better and he played pro ball in Europe. He constantly worked to make himself better."